Mental Health

Putting it into practice: Coping with life

Last month, during the blog launch, I shared some things which are part of self-care and include strategies for managing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Here’s the thing, if you know me or have been following along, you know that I’m great with the learning and the sharing of information, but not so great at practicing what I preach.

I’m happy to report that I started doing that yesterday (on a Monday!) and it made the morning with my little girl significantly conflict free!

Here’s the background:

She goes to her father’s every weekend. The two reasons are so that they get as much time as possible with each other and  so I can get a break from dealing with the challenges of parenting a child with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, while also working on my trauma healing and recovery. Single-parentinga child with special needs while figuring out how to deal with mental illnesses like Bipolar II, PTSD, and Depression, is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. . . and something I haven’t been doing well.

A typical Monday for the two of us includes a lot of screaming and yelling, on both our parts. There may be hitting, kicking, and name calling from her and spankings, forcibly moving her body from one area to the other, and countdowns to consequences from me. In other words, most Monday mornings are epic battles in order to get her out the door to go to school.

Yesterday, was amazingly different! Which I’m so very grateful for.

What changed?

I put into practice three of the things I wrote about in April: Breathing, Setting Intentions, and Affirmative Prayer. I had also participated in a “Not So Mother’s Day Ritual” the day before, where I had let go of something and set a new direction for myself around mothering.

When my body and brain woke me up about two hours before I have set my alarm for, which it usually does, I did my usual checking my phone for social media notifications and updates. Then, I did something different. I decided to start my day differently.

I went into the living room, put on some calming music, and set a timer for five minutes. Then I did some light stretching for the upper body, while focusing on my breathing. Next, I set my intention:

Today I am filled with peace. I act in calm, loving ways toward myself, and my child. Today I receive peace. Today I exude peace. Today I am peace.

After that, I wrote out an affirmative prayer, turning over a major worry and concern I have, regarding one of my other children, to God. I turned that worry and concern over to God, as I understand him/her, so that I could set aside my preoccupation with something and someone over which I have no control. This enabled me to be present, in the moment, with my little girl and what we needed to do in order to get through the morning routine as easy as possible.

A bonus of all of that was, for the first time in a very long time, I had the focus and capacity to do my bible reading and to read and comment on the blog post of a fellow Speak Write Now community member. This last one felt good, because I finally felt like I was supporting and building up someone who does the same for me.

Once my daughter was off to school,  I practiced more self-care by eating breakfast and taking my meds. Both things I tend to put off until much later in the morning or early afternoon. Finally, I put on the Ambient Radio station on Pandora, set a timer for an hour. In that time, I was able to write this post and another for my Human In Recovery blog.

It was really nice not to have another Manic Monday.

 

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